On this bread-making venture, I made a few rustic loaves that are delicious and nutricious. It was also an excuse to try out a few different techniques with baking, shaping and slicing as well as a new kind of starter.
The loaves I made included two rustic, round quinoa loaves; two blue cheese and walnut loaves and a fig and orange breakfast loaf.
The quinoa loaves were experimental, using a ratio of 1:1:1 unbleached flour, whole wheat flour and quinoa flour made from ground up quinoa grains. The result was an incredibly moist crumb with a thick, crunchy crust giving off the distinct earthly aroma of the quinoa. Fantastic with butter!
The blue cheese and walnut loaves was an experiment conducted with a pre-ferment or biga, a starter that uses 3 1/2 cups of flour, 1/4 tsp of yeast and 2 cups of warm water, mixed together and left overnight to ferment. Although the loaves were delicious in flavor thanks to the blue cheese and crunchy walnut combo, I was disappointed with how the crumb turned out; it was too dense. I will have to retry the pre-ferment again next time.
The fig and orange loaf was an extra that I made when I found a small package of figs and since I dislike how it tastes alone, I decided to chop it up and throw it in some dough to make bread, with some orange zest.
IT WAS SUPERB! Better than cinnamon and raisin bread, with a moist crumb and amazing crust. Now I have a reason for those sweetened figs.
This bread adventure was very experimental but the most success came out with the crust of the breads. I made sure to keep my oven at a very high temperature all the while keeping it humid, whether with a pan of water boiling under the racks or spraying the oven with water in the first and last 10 minutes of baking; this ensured my crust was crunchy but left my crumb moist and delectable.
More bread to come!!!